Amin Fikri staged a superb fightback on the opening day of the GCC Billiards Championship at the Ezone Club in Dubai to edge Ali Alobaidli of Qatar 7-6 to move into the 8-ball pool quarter-finals yesterday.
Fikri was staring at a loss at the hands of his young Qatari opponent as he trailed 6-3.
However, the UAE player clawed his way back into the match and eventually stole the game away from Alobaidli in the final frame.
Earlier in the opening round of the competition, Fikri had beaten Abdullah Eissa of Bahrain 4-2. Fellow Emirati Salah Al Rimawi also progressed to the last eight as he defeated Kuwait's Omar Al Shaheen 7-4.
Defending champion Mohammed Al Hosani and Khalid Esbaitah remained in contention for places in the quarter-finals despite suffering setbacks in the first round
Al Hosani was beaten 7-6 by Abdullah Al Yousuf of Saudi Arabia in the first round but the double elimination format gave him a new lease of life and he went to score a hard fought 7-6 win over Abdulwahid Al Awwad, also from Saudi Arabia, to stay in the running.
Esbaitah also sustained a 7-6 loss to Mohammed Al Bannai of Qatar but he followed it up with a fine 7-3 triumph over Omar Ashiq of Bahrain in the losers bracket. The final of the 8-ball singles will be staged today at the same venue and will be followed by the 8-ball team competitions.
Meanwhile, in the second stage of the National Day Snooker Championship, UAE's top-ranked player Mohammed Shehab stormed into the last-16 round after beating Shaker Mahmoodi 4-0 for a 3-0 win-loss record. Shehab is yet to concede a frame in the tournament.
Former Pakistan international Mohammad Shafiq also moved into the last 16 after scoring a 4-0 victory over Shahnawaz Khan, and Ahmed Shehab topped Group C with the help of a 4-1 win over Adel Mohammed Ali.
The last-16 matches will be contested using a round robin format.
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